‘The Social Network’ a true story, twins say

By Jim Finkle, Reuters

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — two of the central characters portrayed in “The Social Network” — say the film accurately portrays Facebook’s birth, the focus of a legal dispute in which they are involved. The 29-year-old identical twins, who are suing the Internet site on claims they came up with the idea for Facebook while students at Harvard University, said on Saturday they were pleased with the way they were portrayed in the Hollywood film. “It does a great job of capturing the factual events of the 18 months of the founding of Facebook. It is a true story,” Cameron said in an interview. Yet they never met with film writer Aaron Sorkin or Ben Mezrich, who wrote the book on which it was based. “We were basically bystanders. We were hoping for the best. And we were relieved when we saw the movie,” Cameron said. The movie intersperses scenes of depositions taken for lawsuits by the Winklevoss twins as well as Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s former best friend and network co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Those lawsuits resulted in undisclosed settlements. But the twins have taken up legal action again, saying they were given misinformation about Facebook’s value and that relevant documents were withheld. The 6’5” twins were in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Saturday to prepare for a Sunday race in the Head of the Charles rowing festival along the Charles River, which divides Boston and Cambridge. Each year several hundreds thousand spectators gather along the river, making it one of the world’s most-watched competitions. The two men have made their mark rowing a two-man boat, finishing sixth place in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. That didn’t make them celebrities, but the release of “The Social Network,” did. It portrays Facebook boss Zuckerberg as a socially awkward computer genius whom the Winklevoss twins hire to complete construction of a social networking website. In the movie, Zuckerberg takes the job, but turns around and creates his own site, which he originally dubs “The Facebook.” Zuckerberg has said the film is inaccurate.

The twins did not get Facebook accounts until 2008. They said they signed up after they were in the Olympics so they could stay in touch with friends they had met in Beijing.